Senior ministry staff involved in RM100 million corruption scandal

KUCHING: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has uncovered a major corruption scandal involving the graft of RM100 million and implicating a group of senior officials at a ministry and at least 10 firms, reports the New Straits Times.

The more than a year-long investigation has been hampered by the lack of a paper trail and attempts to hide the fraud. The graft may have gone undetected if it were not for the effectiveness of Bank Negara Malaysia’s Suspicious Transaction Report alert system, which was triggered by movements of significant amounts of monies in accounts traced to the suspects.

This may just be the tip of the iceberg as sources told the New Straits Times that the scope, breadth and enormity of this case would put other major corruption scandals to shame.

“We are talking about massive amounts of leakages of government funds,” a source said.

The senior ministry officials at a ministry had allegedly collaborated with the companies to defraud the government of massive allocations meant to improve public welfare and local infrastructure through false declarations on paper that projects had been completed, when in fact no work had been done.

According to sources, these individuals would have easily pocketed some RM100 million.

The affected projects and initiatives were supposed to be implemented to help the poor, including those that cost between RM500 million and RM1 billion. Among the initiatives involved was the Poor Students’ Food Programme.

A source close to the ongoing probes into the case said MACC investigators had identified at least five ministry officers who conspired with the companies to embezzle the funds.

“They have been doing it for a few years now and were siphoning funds off numerous projects that never materialised. Then, there are projects which were not carried out according to specifications. Cutbacks were done indiscriminately.

“This case is not just about stealing from funds that were supposed to go to infrastructure development. Even the food programme for poor students was not spared,” one of the sources said.

It is learnt that MACC had identified up to 10 companies that had been working with the officers and the number could increase as investigations progress.

The case is being investigated under the Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 and the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001.

The exclusive New Straits Times report did not provide details on where the embezzlement took place or if any arrests were impending.